Thursday, July 22, 2010

Get Your Roll On

Revocery is crucial. Sometimes, many of us fail to realize this. We tend to think athleticism is only found in the gym between reps and rounds. Fine tuning your rest and revovery periods are just as important as how intelligently you train.

Self Myo-Fascial Release (SMR) isn't a new concept but it has been gaining ground among many athletes as they realize the necessity of recovery. Realize that the better you can recover, the faster you can get back into the gym with a fresh set of legs and a solid back.

SMR can be painful but the gain is worth the pain. Start with these basics.

Back: Deadlift got you permanently hunched? Do pullups have your back in knots. Start by placing a foam roller (available at numerous sporting goods stores) underneath your upper back and put your hands behind your head. Now slowly raise your hips off the ground until only your feet are supporting you. Slowly roll down your back and when you feel any hotspots (trust me, you'll know it) stop and apply direct pressure until pain is diminished by 60-75 percent. Continue down and repeat as necessary.

Iliotibial band: You squat MAD weight, but you're also MAD tight down low. I have the solution, it's painful and should be done only as much as you can physically handle it. Lay on your side with a foam roller underneath the meaty part right below your hip. Keep your head nuetral and your face grimaced, you'll feel it. As with the back, gradually work down and stop and visit each sweet spot before movin' on.

Calf: Sit down with legs stretched out in front of you, bring one foot to your butt, and roll out the opposite calf. Start low on the leg and work up towards the knee, you know the deal by now. Work out sweet spots until pain is lowered by about 60-75 percent.

There are different types and sizes of foam rollers and personal experience will more than likely be the deciding factor on which size or type you use. Many companies also offer other self massage tools, such as "the Stick" and Body Secrets handheld massager ball. Experiment and play around with each and see what works best for you.

If you're on budget, I find that taping two lacrosse balls together makes a PERFECT tool to work out the muscles of the middle back (trapezius, Rhomboideus Minor etc.)
A PVC pipe cut to about 1 and a half foot length is good for the quads and calf muscles.

Whatever method you decide to use, be smart about it. Don't overdue it, and keep at it. Using these guidlines and doing research on your own can lead to better recovery and an increase in performance.

For time:
15 Snatch @135lbs
15 L-Pullups
15 Snatch @135lbs

I had to stop at 5 reps on the last set of snatches. My shoulder gave me some grief. Better safe than sorry, but I was at 17 minutes and 30 seconds.

Deadlift 5-3-1
5 Reps @ 310
3 Reps @ 350
4 Reps @ 390

Focused on form.


  1. Great post, but PVC pipe is a poor substitute for a foam roller. Its smooth hard surface can't get down in around the muscle attachments where adhesions tends to accumulate, and it can also cause inflammation and tissue damage if you roll too close to bony areas of the body. To safely get deep into thickly muscled areas like the quads and calves, try a RumbleRoller ( It's used just like a regular foam roller but is more effective for SMR.

  2. Thanks alot Ron, I guess I felt like PVC was working for me. That's good info! The rumble roller looks intense brother! I am going to have to do a review for it. This is what I love about fitness. Alot of like minds helping and molding individuals to be there best. Thanks again!